Gaza Strip refugees who found housing in a school were bombed, leaving 20 dead and more than 100 wounded. The artillery shells struck the school around 5 a.m., and most of the dead were young men gathering for prayer at dawn. A classroom where women and children were sleeping was also struck. A refugee recounts that people were torn to pieces, and witnesses recall Gaza youth picking up body parts in preparation for burial.
Although Israel says they are targeting Hamas, their bombs are creating more civilian casualties. In spite of this, Israel is standing firm on their stance against the Hamas militants, and neither Palestinian nor Israeli leaders are concerning themselves with ending the conflict. Later in the day the Israeli military gave a temporary humanitarian cease-fire from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., yet the cease-fire did not apply to areas where current military operations were taking place. In the midst of the cease-fire, Israel forces fired on a marketplace in eastern Gaza, killing an estimated 15 people and wounding over 100 others, according to Palestinian health officials. Israel claims that Hamas militants had fired into Israel during the cease-fire, and that was the reason for the attack.
UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon denounced the attack during a visit to Costa Rica, calling for Israel to account for their actions and for justice to be served. Moon also stated that the precise location of the UN school had been clearly communicated to Israeli military 17 times. In spite of that, Israel bombed the Gaza Strip school that was housing the refugees, leaving 20 dead. The Gaza Health Ministry reports that 1,323 Palestinians are dead as of July 30, including 96 killed on Wednesday alone.
Israeli forces bombed Gaza’s main power plant, plunging residents into darkness with no hope of the plant resuming operations in the near future. The power plant was left in flames and was also the primary source of water and sewage treatment for Gaza. This incident now poses an immediate crisis for Gaza’s sanitary conditions and water supply.
Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of this current conflict is understanding the reasons behind the almost irrational manner in which the strikes are being carried out and understanding the deep divisions between Israel and Palestine. Many do not know that Israel, backed by European interests, waged war against Palestine in the late 1940s and conquered 78 percent of Palestinian territory. Israel also erased most of Palestine’s history, renaming all of Palestine’s geographic areas in the Hebrew language. In 1967, another war gave Israel even more Palestinian territory.
The Oslo Peace Accords that began in 1993 were never truly implemented. Several agreements brokered by the U.S. and countries surrounding Israel and Palestine that would have transferred control of the Gaza Strip to Palestinians, never truly materialized. This led to the Palestinian population rebelling at the end of 2000, plunging the area into perpetual conflict. A U.S. State Department cable indicates Israeli officials systematically planned to keep Gaza’s economy on the brink of collapse.
Palestinian borders are often blocked, preventing food and medicine from reaching Gaza. Israel has mastered the art of public relations to keep people uninformed of their intentions. Now, Wednesday’s bombing of a Gaza Strip school housing refugees that killed 20 and injured many more sheds light on the severity of Israel’s intentions and the anger that fuels Hamas. The U.S. is assisting the Israeli government and has given Israel aid to maintain their Iron Dome missile defense system. The U.S. is a key Israeli ally, and American taxpayers are giving Israel, on average, $8 million USD per day.
By Adrianne Hill